My Faithful Canning Companion

This book was published in 1964, the same year I was married. My heritage required that a housewife preserve fresh food for the winter months ahead. For my mother and grandmothers that meant root vegetables and hardy fruits, like apples and pears, went into the root cellar and everything else was “put by” into jars.

As is the nature of all new homemakers, I wanted to blaze my own way. So, Farm Journal’s Freezing and Canning Cookbook appealed to me. I determined to embrace the modern ways and began freezing the majority of my fresh food.

Farm Journal was a very popular magazine during the first half of the twentieth century. When it came to the magazine’s food section, it contained recipes and food tips from farm kitchens around the U.S. Farm Journal gathered them into a series of cookbooks. For me, this particular cookbook was literally my guidebook for everything I wanted to freeze. Today we take it for granted that we can freeze our food, but it was a new concept among the members of my family and friends.

During those early years I continued to preserve some of my food in jars. I preferred the taste of peaches and tomatoes in jars. I usually made a batch of strawberry jam each year too. As I became more confident with the first half of this book (freezing), I then began exploring the last half (canning).

I discovered a whole section of gourmet jams, jellies and pickles. The jars on my shelves could rival those of expensive jars found in upscale shops in big cities. I especially loved the jams that called for mixing fruits together. My favorites are Blushing Peach (peaches and raspberries), Ruby Preserves (strawberries, raspberries, and cherries), Oriental Pear Jam (pears, pineapple and ginger), and Triple Fruiet Jam (apples, raspberries and pineapple).

From this book I also learned how to make the best sauerkraut, pickles and relishes. Again, I have my favorite: Sauerkraut in a Jar, Crispy Dill Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Mixed Garden Relish, and Rosy Watermelon Pickles.

From time to time I’ve purchased those slim volumes put out by the Ball Jar Company. I’ve found some gems in there along with their bright pictures. But I remain loyal to my faithful canning companion. The pages are old and worn and there are very few pictures, but it’s still my tried and true friend.

Believe it or not, Farm Journal’s Freezing and Canning Cookbook is still available. It can be found at Amazon.

Talking about food is a regular feature on my blog and others as well. Visit Beth Fish Reads for other bloggers who are participating in Weekend Cooking.

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13 Responses to My Faithful Canning Companion

  1. When I was younger, there was some sort of urban legend (or maybe true stories, I don’t remember) about botulism from canning, and ever since then I have avoided home canning for fear I’d do it incorrectly. But I love items made by others!

  2. caite says:

    I have never canned anything, sadly.
    I blame it on a preserve mishap my mother had when I was a child.
    It ended with her having to throw out the pot…

    but then I taste some bread and butter pickles that someone brought into work…or taste some homemade (not by me) sauerkraut or read about those mixed fruit jams…oh my.

  3. BooksPlease says:

    My mother used to make jam, marmalade and pickles. I’ve tried making jam, with not much success. Freezing is so much easier and was relatively new when I got married (1969). I have several books from the 1960s and 1970s on freezing which I still use now and then.

  4. I’ve stayed away from canning for the same reason as Rhapsody – I can remember my mother doing it and telling me how careful you had to be. I also remember my mother telling me stories about the first time she bought frozen foods.

  5. Rikki says:

    Sounds like a good book. I have only ever done jam, the one combo you mention, pear, ginger and pineapple sounds delicious.

  6. Beth F says:

    I love those tried and true books. I used to be nervous about canning too, but if you follow the directions and sterilize your jars, all is fine! I rarely can anymore, but I do take full advantage of my freezer.

  7. Vicki says:

    I’ve never canned, but my MIL does and I love how the food tastes.

    You can find mine HERE

  8. Margot — your post brought back lovely memories! My book (I guess my daughter has it) was actually called “Putting Food By”. I loved doing these things back when we had a houseful of kids. One time Bill and I stayed up all night canning peaches. We had some windfalls (almost giveaways) from the local U-Pick — and they had to be dealt with right away. We both went to work the next day too! Those were the days when we thought we were indispensible! Those home-canned foods sure did taste good all year! good for you for keeping up your skill!

  9. Cerrin says:

    My absolute favorite Jam is blushing peach. I will never forget the year we made a huge batch for gifts. I think giving home made gifts is the best thing to give.

    But my favorite is Salsa. when my friends make salsa I always beg for a jar. Yummy!

  10. stacybuckeye says:

    I am so lucky this was not expected of me when I got married. My husband would have wasted away to nothing!

  11. Staci says:

    There is something to be said for doing things yourself and really relishing it. I love the idea of canning and wished that someone in my family did it. My cousin taught herself…maybe I need to visit her for a weekend or two?? “From this book I also learned how to make the best sauerkraut, pickles and relishes. Again, I have my favorite: Sauerkraut in a Jar, Crispy Dill Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Mixed Garden Relish, and Rosy Watermelon Pickles.”- this list made me extremely hungry and recalled some fond memories of visiting my great-grandparents and devouring a whole jar of bread and butter pickles!!

  12. I haven’t seen this book before, but you can tell the era from the cover pictures!

    Do you use the same canning method outlined in the cookbook, Margot? Or just follow the recipes and use a more updated technique (I imagine it has changed, since equipment has changed … no more separate rubber gaskets!)

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